Volume 18 of the series Topics in Current Genetics pp 253-278


The importance of anatomy and physiology in plant metabolomics

  • Ute RoessnerAffiliated withAustralian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics, School of Botany, The University of Melbourne Email author 
  • , Filomena PettolinoAffiliated withSchool of Botany, The University of Melbourne

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Plant metabolomics offers some unique opportunities in the assignment of biochemical pathways.The genetics of model plants is well-characterized which enables functional genomic approaches, qualitativetrait loci identification and genetic engineering. Metabolomics has successfully supported the identificationof gene function. As a specialized system, a number of key features of plants create challenges insample preparation and interpretation of metabolomic data. Significantly, most plant tissues arecomposed of multiple cell types which are difficult to isolate, often resulting in limited numbersper cell type. This hinders spatial resolution of the analysis of metabolites. Secondly, cells aresurrounded by a dynamic cell wall which is in constant turnover, interfering with the metabolome.Thirdly, green plant cells are capable of fixing carbon through photosynthesis producing metabolite-capturedenergy. This also implies a strong light-dependency in plant metabolism. Finally, plants are characterizedby a diversity of secondary metabolites produced in response to environmental stimuli.